Monday, August 19, 2019

Trail Repair

There's a reason I don't go into the woods on the property during high winds, and the other day (early June) we got a healthy dose of high winds which shredded The Wife's garden umbrella and brought several tree-tops down into our "yard"

When the winds calmed down I spent a day running the downed treetops through the chipper, then went out the next day and found a few trees down across my trails.

I just leave the smaller ones, the ones where I can see the ground on the other side before stepping over, lay where they are and incorporate them into my daily walks. (Lift those knees damnit!)

But around these parts, as is the case in most the country, stepping over a log without being able to see where your foot is going to land is not a highly recommended practice. Such as happened when this pair came down, right across my trail, which is just about in the center of this photo. Or at least that's where it's supposed to be.

I've got two chainsaws, a medium one for normal people, and a monster for those times when the medium (18") saw is just not big enough. I rarely get either one of them out anymore, keeping them on the shelf drained of gas and chain-oil,

but this blockage was beyond my handsaw. No really, the handsaw was too short for this job; it's not that a he-man like me wasn't up to the task of cutting right through those logs with nothing more than arm-power (OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. . . It would probably have taken me a week and two trips to the emergency room to cut these by hand. . .)

But that wasn't the worst obstacle I found out there.

The scale is difficult to judge in the photo, but my newly rerouted trail makes a sharp right and slips under the trunk right in the center of the photo, just this side of that first major branch - and even with my hat on I don't have to duck to walk it.

That honor goes to this 70' oak that snapped off at ground-level and fell right down the length of my trail, like it thought I cleared that space with my own sweat just for it to lay down in.

In that first photo I was standing near where the tree snapped off, here I am standing in my trail on the other side looking at the former top end of the downed tree. The crown is laying on the ground in front of me but still towers a solid 20' over my head. Jutting up in the center-left is the remains of an 8" tree that the falling oak snapped off about 6' in the air on the way down.

This is the second time I've had to reroute the trail in this spot to get around a new obstacle. I wonder if that means anything??

As long as I had the chainsaw out I figured I could remedy a long-standing issue (Or should I say long-laying issue?) on another part of the trail.

This 24" oak log was laying there across my trail before it was my trail, but climbing over it by stepping on top to get a look at the ground on the other side before stepping down again, and doing this pretty much every day, twice a day, (Once in each direction) has taken it's toll on the rotting wood and the footing has been getting treacherous, especially when it's wet.

So, after careful measuring, if by-eyeball can be considered careful, I laid my 18" chainsaw flat and stabbed it through the log at the lowest point it would still go all the way through and cut a horizontal slot. Following that up with a couple of vertical cuts and I had cut myself a proper step.

That should hold for a while.

                             At least until the next wind-storm. . .


  1. Replies
    1. Good, but smart?

      If I just left them alone and let the forest take them back then this morning, our 19th straight triple-digit day, 54 days since it's rained, I wouldn't have had to go out and do my near-daily 2.6 miles in 45 minutes.